The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile will utilize remote electronic voting for the first time to help determine who will be the next president of the international motorsport governing body. The measure is meant to allow the FIA’s member clubs to cast their ballots without a representative physically present at the FIA General Assembly meeting. While a useful workaround to the travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, this method of early voting has opened new ethical gray areas.
A letter written by François Bellanger, the FIA Ethics Committee President, was published on the FIA website earlier this week to address the organization’s concerns. This letter was provoked by concerns brought to the FIA that member clubs were being requested to share photos of their completed ballots to prove how they voted.
Bellanger stated that member clubs should not be pressured by any third party to vote for a particular candidate. He wrote that lobbying for and endorsing candidates are legitimate political practices. However, he added that these practices were “potentially controversial.” The ultimate aim is to allow votes to be cast “freely and confidentially.”
Bellanger also pointed out three practices that would not be tolerated: threatening voters who do not support a certain candidate, offering rewards to voters who support a certain candidate, and asking voters to photograph their completed ballot when casting it. He concluded the letter stating that the FIA will not hesitate to investigate any complaint. Complaints can be submitted anonymously via an email directly to the FIA Ethics Committee or a report on the FIA Ethics and Compliance Hotline website.
Member clubs have just under five weeks left to decide whether Graham Stoker or Mohammad Ben Sulayem should succeed Jean Todt as FIA President. The FIA presidential election will take place on December 17th in Paris at the annual meeting of the FIA General Assembly.